The Lower Hutt Women’s Centre
We run a continuous range of self help groups and courses, e.g. Assertiveness, Self Esteem, Anger Management, Meditation and Self Esteem for Teenage Girls.
The centre fills a special role in that it can be anonymous, women can talk, they don’t need to fit a criteria – women can come and unload , enrol for a course or just have some quiet space. This service is used daily and is essential for the Lower Hutt community. All women from all cultures and ages are welcome at the centre. The drop-in facilities provided are a meeting place for women, a time out space and a friendly environment for a chat and support.
We believe women need specific services for women-only to work on issues of self esteem, assertiveness and parenting skills.
The gender dynamics are not there which enables women to take responsibility for their own actions.
- Women can realise their own strengths.
- Women can experience the value in developing friendships and community.
- Women-only is a safe environment for some women.
- It shows the importance and value of women and what they do.
- This is a place to look at gender difference, roles and their own place in that.
- We believe the woman is the pivot of the family. Her self esteem and well-being is essential to the well-being of her family. Education and empowerment of the mother educates and empowers the family and the community.
The Lower Hutt Women’s Centre acts as a community resource centre for Women, Teenage Girls and Children, working towards and with, education, empowerment, the promotion of mental health, healing and recovery for all women and families in the community. We seek to address feminist goals which seek to empower, support, educate and resource women to lead full and meaningful lives and to work toward social justice and equity.
- We recognise and work in the spirit of the Tiriti O Waitangi.
- We confront women’s oppression and empower women to take control of their own lives.
- We oppose discrimination by those who have power against those who do not. This includes discrimination against women who identify and live as women, including Māori women, Pacific Island women, women of colour, lesbians, transwomen, those who are differently abled, young, old, working class and those with different spiritual beliefs.
- We promote a safe and supportive environment for all women and children.
- We promote the sharing of power and resources.
- We act as a resource and information centre for the community.
The Women’s Centre is for all women, teenage girls and children. The Women’s Centre provides support, encouragement and education in a safe environment, encouraging women to reach their full potential.
How We Operate
We work from an understanding of empowerment, women can develop the skills and abilities to sort out their own problems. Women will know that problems are developing and we provide the opportunities for women to begin work on their own issues so they can make positive choices and interventions before crisis situations arrive. Our main focus is group work. Women can benefit from group work even during sessions when you say little but listen carefully to others. Most people find that they have important things in common with other group members, and as others work on concerns, you can learn much about yourself. Group members may bring up issues that strike a chord with you, which you might not have been aware of or known how to bring up yourself. A natural process of acceptance of self and others occurs as women learn to relate more honestly and directly with others in the group. The group provides an opportunity for personal experimentation, it is a safe place to risk enough to learn more about yourself.
The Women’s Centre is situated on Knights Road, Waterloo, and consists of a standard domestic dwelling in a residential area that is well served by public transport. This is vital because many women do not have their own transport.
Women’s Centre has the responsibility of paying all insurance, rates and maintenance on the house.
It is important that the house retains the appearance of a welcoming home. The centre of the house, as in many homes, is the kitchen, where a cup of tea is always available. We have three rooms available for workshops, meetings and counselling. In addition, we have two offices, two toilets, a hallway for the display of pamphlets and notices, and a purpose built creche/counselling room in the back garden.
The Lower Hutt Women’s Centre Incorporated owns the house in Knights Road with a mortgage with received from Prometheus Ethical Finance, and paid for by donations from Lower Hutt Women’s Centre supporters.
The Women’s Centre began as an outcome of the United Nations International Decade for Women. A series of Community Forums were set up and an identified need was a Women’s Centre. The Lower Hutt City Council were instrumental in setting up the Centre in response to this identified need. Social Welfare, the Labour Department and Lower Hutt Council all helped initially, but as funding criteria changed, Lottery Welfare became the main source of funding until we received contracts with Ministry of Social Development and Hutt Valley District Health Board.
The Women’s Centre has been operating since 1987 and been in Knights Road since 1990.
Without the generosity of the funders we would not have been able to provide this community resource. We, on behalf of the community, thank them.
This year, the Centre received funding from the following:
- Oranga Tamariki
- Te Whātu Ora
- Lottery Community Committee
- The Box Trust
- Ministry for Women
- Hutt City Council
- Nikau Foundation
- Strathlachlan Trust
- TG Macarthy Charitable Trust
- Pub Charity
- Four Winds Charitable Trust